On YouTube, 2012 was the year of the D.I.Y. lip sync video, fueled by parodies of "Gangnam Style" and "Call Me Maybe."
Unlike years past, when lip-syncing meant watching a lonely girl sing into a hairbrush in her bedroom, the videos of 2012 were often well produced and some involved bona fide stars paying homage to the original song.
Carly Rae Jepson's '"Call Me Maybe" is probably the best example. The song gave rise to thousands of lip-sync versions, including one produced by Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and other teen 'throbs that landed on YouTube's top 10 trending videos of the year.
With nearly 55 million views, Bieber and company's video was not the most viewed version of the song - that title goes to Jepson's official video, which drew more than 361 million views.
YouTube, however, placed the Bieber version at No. 4 because the folks who did the ranking also considered the number of shares, responses, parodies, remixes and comments to formulate their list.
"We wanted to identify the videos that everybody talked about this year," said Kevin Alloca, trends manager at YouTube.
The Bieber video was chosen because it set off an avalanche of other "Call Me Maybe" lip-syncs, Alloca said, including ones produced by Katy Perry, the AARP, the Harvard University baseball team, the U.S. Olympic swimming team, Fun. and Jimmy Fallon.
Those short on time can scroll to the end of the post to see the Top 10 trending YouTube videos of 2012, as well as YouTube's top 10 cover song videos of the year, exclusive to Billboard. For more analysis of the lists, read on.
By now, everyone who hasn't been living off the grid knows that "Gangnam Style" was the year's most popular online video. What some might not realize is that it's also the first foreign-language video to hit the No. 1 spot. With 70% of YouTube's views coming from outside the U.S., it was only a matter of time before a non-English language video broke through, Alloca said.
"This tells us that YouTube has gone global," he said.
In a sign that YouTube also has evolved from comedic LOL cats and confessional lonelygirl15's, "KONY 2012" became the first non-profit video to make the platform's top trending list. The video, which exposed the crimes of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, was produced by the child advocacy group "Invisible Children." It came in at No. 3, after sparking the most views ever in a single day at 31 million. For a week in March, it was also the most-shared video in the world.
One thing, however, remains the same as in past years - music still rules, partly due to its universal appeal. Similar to the platform's most-viewed list, music videos captured four of the top 10 spots.
Without further delay, here are two lists - YouTube's top trending videos of 2012 and, exclusive to Billboard, the top cover songs of the year.
YouTube's Top 10 Trending Videos of 2012:
1. Gangnam Style
2. Walk Off the Earth
3. KONY 2012
4. Call Me Maybe - Bieber, Gomez, Pena
5. Epic Rap Battles - Obama vs. Romney
6. Dramatic Surprise
7. Why You AreAsking All Them Questions
8. Lindsey Stirling
9. Facebook Parenting
10. Stratos Highlights -- Felix Baumgartner's Livestreamed Freefall
YouTube's Top Cover Songs of 2012:
1. Somebody That I Used to Know - Walk off the Earth (Gotye - Cover)
2. Justin Bieber - Boyfriend (MattyBRaps Cover)
3. "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen, cover by CIMORELLI! -- 500,000 subscribers!!
4. Forget You - Vazquez Sounds (Cover)
5. Payphone - Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa - Official Music Video Cover - Tyler Ward & Katy McAllister
6. Payphone - Maroon 5 (Jayesslee Cover)
7. Whistle - Flo Rida (Cover)
8. One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful (MattyBRaps Cover)
9. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-Taylor Swift (cover) Megan Nicole
10. Noah Cover of "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO
Source: Google Inc. / YouTube